A couple of weeks ago, I conducted an informal, one-question poll: Who's running against U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick in the midterm election? Most shrugged, but a few responded, "You mean that Native American guy ... what's his name?"
His name is Jeff Doctor. He's a Seneca Indian and his wife, Allyson, is Mohawk. Both tribes are part of the Iroquois Confederacy, a sovereign nation that hit the headlines a few months back when its lacrosse team was stuck in England without American passports. Because they're citizens of another nation, technically speaking, they haven't been in the habit of voting. But Doctor has decided to set a new example for his people. Not only did he vote in the primaries, he's running for Congress against the well-known conservative Myrick (who, 16 years ago, swore she'd only serve two terms in Congress).
Chloe, Doctor's 12-year-old daughter, inspired his run. Through her school, Union County's Marvin Ridge Middle, she became involved in the last election. While the family was in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration, she pointed at the White House and asked her dad why he wasn't there. The rest, as they say, is history.
He's operating his campaign with less than $100,000, nearly $41,000 of which is from his own pocket. Meanwhile, Myrick has raised 10 times more money, with more than half coming from political action committees. The Democratic Party? They're no help. Although Native American tribes have donated nearly $10 million to the party this year alone, the party hasn't donated a penny to Doctor's campaign, nor did they respond to our requests for comment. But he's not bitter, though he says he would like it if the party would pay more attention to his district — the 9th, which is mostly urban, white and, of the registered voters, 34-percent Democrat and 28-percent unaffiliated. "It's just another challenge," he says.
On the issues:
• He's a member of the National Rifle Association.
• On health care, he says, "As a developed nation, there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to provide health care on some level." He also thinks current legislation needs to be refined.
• On immigration, he'd like to see the business owners attracting undocumented workers held accountable to some degree. He also believes if an immigrant continually runs into trouble here, they should be sent home.
• He says we need to focus more money and attention on our children's educations and pay our teachers better.
• Regarding homosexuals in the military and their right to marry, he believes all American citizens should be treated equally.
• He's in favor of raising the minimum wage, but he isn't in favor of raising taxes, or ending the Bush-era tax cuts; however, he thinks the issue should be revisited as soon as the economy improves.
• To improve the economy, he says, "We need to get back to being a nation of innovators and stop being a nation of consumers." He'd like to see more focus on small businesses.
• He hopes to be a true representative of his district, which is why you may find him at a Tea Party or Republican event.